So, let’s start with thinking about what makes a presentation effective. We are sure you have plenty of ideas based on your previous experience of attending or delivering presentations. There’s definitely a lot that can be said about presentations; if you were to search for ‘effective presentations’ in Google, you would get 215,000,000 results!!!
Here, we will briefly introduce some factors that we think are very important and therefore worth remembering, regardless of your context and type of presentation you need to deliver.
Careful planning and preparation
|searching for articles and other resources|
|Good time management||checking your progress regularly|
|Relevant and interesting content||deciding what to include and what to leave out|
|Clear structure||providing an outline of your presentation|
|Good communication skills||speaking clearly|
|Appropriate use of technologies||being familiar with the equipment and/or software|
|Clear supporting documentation||providing a note-taking handout|
|Suitable audience participation||explaining when you will take questions|
Listed adapted from Chivers & Shoolbred (2007, p.20)
This list is not intended to be exhaustive; it is merely some examples of what you can do. Let’s have a look at some more examples by doing a task.
Task: Match the examples to the features of a good presentation.
Now, we are moving on to communication skills. Let’s have a look at three different types of communication and learn why they are important for presentations.
By verbal communication skills we mean how you use your voice to communicate your message to the audience. There are many factors that affect the effectiveness of your verbal communication. Here are some important ones:
To find out more about pronunciation and work on your pronunciation skills such as word stress, intonation, chunking, etc., visit our self-access pronunciation guide (link below)
Task: Reflect on your personal experience as presenter and/or member of an audience. What other factors can affect visual communication? Note down some ideas, then check with our suggested answers below.
Here are some things that can have a negative impact on visual communication:
As you can see, an effective presentation is not just a matter of how fancy your slides are or how confident you are with speaking in public. Presenting effectively involves careful planning and preparation in terms of content, organisation, language, technology and, of course, with your audience in mind. The decisions you will make are determined by your own context. Just imagine the following three scenarios and consider the choices you would make when preparing for your presentation.